Sunday, November 17, 2013

I See… When Pride Rises

I often ponder on President Benson’s classic address on pride- it keeps me grounded (you can read it here, and you can read MTE posts about it here and here).  He placed assuming that we know more than God, or that we can order Him around, fairly high on his long list of “pride sins.” A recent discussion during a recent priesthood meeting prompted me to review his prophetic words on pride.

A young man sitting towards the back very emotionally started the discussion with “I’m outing myself.  I am one of those members in good standing that supported the group of women who were seeking to hold the priesthood.  I want to make it clear that they did not believe that they had the right to hold the priesthood outside of lines of authority. They were petitioning that the Prophet and the Twelve Apostles ponder deeply and seek the Lord’s approval for women to hold the priesthood, working through the same process of seeking divine revelation that was used by President Kimball to bless all worthy men with the priesthood, regardless of race and color.”

The instructor responded by casting an empty, helpless look across a fidgeting sea of priesthood brethren in the room, silently pleading for other relevant comments to put this worried elder’s remarks into context.  I obliged.

I explained that over a decade ago, when I received training as a new bishop, I was wisely counseled that I should seek and accept excellent input, advice, and recommendations from a variety of sources, but revelation only comes from above. I interpreted this to mean that leaders should seek input from congregation members but trust only God for divine approval of decisions.

He liked this explanation.

I commented that when Elder Marlin K. Jensen recently visited our stake, he asked to hold an informal lunch between Sunday Stake Conference sessions with all the Stake women leaders (Relief Society, Young Womens, and Primary) and their husbands, where he pointedly sought their counsel on current problems and issues (I was there as the husband of the Stake Relief Society President).

He liked this explanation.

I added that Elder Bednar, during a training session held for Priesthood leaders in our area, departed from the usual pattern of providing unsolicited but usually timely and inspired counsel, and instead held a long and involved open-ended question-and-answer session.  He asked leaders about local problems in their congregations, then offered pertinent gospel-based solutions.

He liked this explanation.

After the conclusion of the priesthood lesson, he pulled me aside and personally thanked me for my comments, which he believed, interpreted through his personal lens of understanding, supported his support of women seeking to hold the priesthood. I wanted to ask him, “What happens if, after lengthy deliberation, pondering, and prayer among those leaders appointed to receive revelation for the entire church, the Lord says ‘No’?”

I don’t think he would like this explanation.

1 comment:

  1. A friend of mine recently told me that the things asked (required) of us via the gospel, the church, and the Spirit can be very inconvenient and uncomfortable at times. These can go against the grain of our social, political, and academic understanding. But when my friend gets to thinking this way, he thinks about how inconvenient and uncomfortable it must have been for the Savior to be on the cross suffering for us. And then he realizes that nothing the Lord asks of us could ever be too inconvenient or uncomfortable.